Baseball on TV by Vin Scully
For those who saw yesterday’s game from Vegas, it was Vin’s first game of the spring and from what I understand, he’s in midseason form. I guess 62 years of calling games will do that to a man!
It’s the perfect time to share this column, which he recently wrote for an MLB publication that just came out.
Baseball on Television
By Vin Scully
Technology may have changed the quality of television screens and the viewing experience for baseball fans watching at home, but there are a few basic elements still relevant for a broadcaster sitting behind a microphone.
Calling a game on radio is similar to an artist walking into a studio with a blank canvas, a lot of paint and a lot of brushes. You begin to paint the picture, the total picture. You begin to shade a little here and go a little heavy there, and when you’re finished, you put your hands together and say ‘That’s the best I can do.’
With television, the picture is already there. So the first thing, interestingly enough for me, is the audio. It’s a director’s medium, so what we do is follow the director. But the crowd is so important, whether you see them hollering or screaming in joy, or praying and doing everything imaginable. And it’s the same with players, not that they pray or anything like that. But you can see the various looks.
So where radio is the picture and presented by the announcer, television is the picture that is provided by the director. To me, silence on television is more important certain moments than anything I could say. So if you’re home and watching the game and there is a dramatic moment, it’s in the hands of the director. And the wise announcer kind of lays back and lets the director take the close-up of the pitcher or the hitter or the runner base or someone praying in the stands. That’s all part of the enjoyment of the game, besides the actual play itself.
One of the temptations we have today is like the song of the Lorelei, wrecking you on the rocks. So much is provided to you with statistics and information that you run the risk of looking down when a play is taking place. So you really have to be careful about that. Every game has somewhat of a story, an individual or maybe both of the pitchers. Someone is doing something that adds to the story. And then, of course, you can’t go overly dramatic in fourth game of the season with 158 games to go. But everything seems to fall into place in terms of the schedule, the game, where you are, the history of the teams. And they can get dull. Let’s face it – there are some games when nothing happens. And then it’s up to you to come up with a story or a historical aticidote to add a little spice to the telecast.
Even today, the sound of the crowd means everything to me. When I was a kid, I used to crawl under the radio and I’d listen to college football games. That’s about all we had in those days. I’d have the speaker above my head and when the crowd would roar, I’ve said it a trillion times – it was like water flowing out of a shower head. It would pour down over me. And I would get goose bumps and be thrilled by the roar of the crowd. To this day, I still get goose bumps when that crowd lets out some emotional roar. To me, without the crowd, it would be like going to a movie without the music in the background. It would be deadly.